Early Review: Harlot by Victoria Dahl

HarlotHarlot by Victoria Dahl
Genre: Historical Romance/Erotica
Publication Date: October 26th, 2015
ARC provided by Victoria Dahl and Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: HE CAME HOME TO MARRY AN ANGEL…
After two years of work in the gold fields of California, Caleb Hightower has come home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Willoughby. But when he returns, Caleb learns his refined bride-to-be is now a whore. Enraged by her betrayal, he can’t reconcile this shameless woman with the sweet innocent he once deeply loved–but Caleb knows what to do with a harlot. He’s determined to get everything from her that she’s sold to other men. And he’s prepared to pay for the pleasure of his revenge.

Left penniless after her father’s death, Jess made a deal with a devil. Now she must face her childhood sweetheart, whose scorn is no match for her regret. To make amends, she’ll let Caleb quench his rage with her body. Their bargain strips them down to searing passion and naked vulnerability, and Jess can still glimpse her loving Caleb buried deep inside this rough cowboy. In the end, an unbearable truth emerges that could push them toward forgiveness…or could destroy their fragile bond forever.

Angie’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how absolutely exquisite this cover is? It is an excellent example of how important the outside of a book is when the reader is just scrolling through haphazardly looking for a read. The title, Harlot, might not have grabbed me, but this cover… My mouse was instantly drawn to it and click! It was mine! Victoria Dahl is one of those authors who has been on my to be read pile for a while now. This short read seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a taste for her writing, and all I have to say is yum! I have a craving for seconds. Harlot is a beautifully written story of intense longing and second chances.

When Jessica is forced to strike a deal with the devil in order to survive, she sells the only thing she has left of any value – her virginity. It’s not long before she finds that everything has consequences, and her circumstances take an even bigger turn for the worse. Jessica was a woman with very little means determined to keep going. In the process, she brings hope to two other people; together they work hard and get by. When Caleb returns after being away for two years to claim the girl he’d left behind, he’s devastated to hear rumors of her being a prostitute. Knowing it can’t be true of the young lady he’d loved, he tracks her down in hopes of finding it untrue. Unaware that it isn’t so cut and dried, Caleb is devastated to learn the truth.

I loved the premise of this story. Unable to claim the girl he’d loved, Caleb decides to claim her body instead in an effort to punish her for what she took from them. Harsh actions for a man who loved her once up on a time, but Caleb’s love for Jessica trumps his anger in every steamy scene. (And there are a lot of them!) Degradation may have been his motivator, but it’s his adoration for Jessica that keeps him returning. Caleb’s revelations were the highlight of this book for me; he may have not entered this story in a very good light, but he certainly redeemed himself. Though this book was incredibly erotic, I didn’t feel like it overshadowed the plot – and for such a small book, there was a lot of plot! There was also a bit of a mystery here, but I think it was more a mystery for Caleb than the reader, as it was quite obvious from the beginning who Jessica sold herself to.

If you’re looking for a quick, steamy read that packs a big emotional punch, this book fits the bill!

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to VICTORIA DAHL and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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